Skip to main content

Organization of Independent Artists records, circa 1970s-circa 2003

Organization of Independent Artists records, circa 1970s-circa 2003

Organization of Independent Artists (New York, N.Y.)

Collection Information

Size: 28.4 linear feet

Summary: The Organization of Independent Artists records measure 28.4 linear feet and date from circa 1970s to circa 2003. The records include administrative records, correspondence, exhibition and installation files, artists' files, financial and legal records, printed material, seven scrapbooks, and photographs.

Administrative records include scattered files about the board of directors/trustees, the advisory board, membership, events, gallery rental space, loans, other organizations, and the general history of the OIA. Also found are exhibitions lists, schedules, and proposals, as well as drafts of OIA printed materials. Correspondence with artists, board members, donors, financial institutions, and other organizations is found in many of the files.

Exhibition and installation files comprise the bulk of the records and include files for the Annual OIA Salon Show, the OIA Sculpture Garden assembled annually on the grounds of the Manhattan Psychiatric Center on Ward's Island, several shows of Selections from the Slide Files, as well as numerous other group exhibitions and installations.

The artists' files contain a variety of materials, including photographs, and are found for Hera, Tom Klem, Mary Shaffer, and a few others. Financial and legal records document the organization's many grant applications, invoices and bills paid, tax materials, and legal issues. Printed materials include OIA newsletters, show announcements and brochures, and exhibition materials and clippings. There is one clippings scrapbook and six scrapbooks of exhibition materials. Photographs depict exhibitions and installations as well as artwork; additional photographs of exhibitions are also filed with the exhibition files.

Biographical/Historical Note

The Organization of Independent Artists (OIA) is a non-profit arts organization founded in 1976 by Warren Tanner, Arnold Wechsler, and Renee Meyer, in New York, New York.

Provenance

The Organization of Independent Artists records were donated in 2003 by the organization via Geraldine Cosentino, Director.

A Finding Aid to the Organization of Independent Artists Records, circa 1970s-circa 2003, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.orgainda
Biographical/Historical note
The Organization of Independent Artists (OIA) is a non-profit arts organization founded in 1976 by Warren Tanner, Arnold Wechsler, and Renee Meyer. The organization's mission is to sponsor artist-curated group shows and enable exhibitions of emerging and mid-career artists in public spaces throughout the New York City area outside of the usual commercial and alternative gallery venues.
OIA activities have included organizing public space exhibitions and displays of artwork, publishing a quarterly newsletter, maintaining a slide registry of artists' work and extensive artists' mailing lists, and arranging studio tours. The Arts in Public Spaces Program was initiated in 1976 with the passage of the Public Buildings Cooperative Usage Act, a public law that encourages the use of public space in federal buildings for cultural and educational activities. Participating professional artists have included Thornton Willis, Joan Thorne, Vincent Longo, Mimi Gross Grooms, Hannah Wilke, Nancy Spero, Richard Mock, and Joyce Kozloff, among others. By 1986, OIA had facilitated the display of more than 5,000 works of art in forty public exhibition sites, which included courthouses, libraries, building lobbies, public parks, college campuses, and hospital grounds in all five boroughs of New York City, and over 2,000 artists had participated it its Art in Public Spaces program.
Other exhibition collaborations have included Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center, General Services Administration, John F. Kennedy Airport, Long Island University in Brooklyn, Longwood Arts Center in the Bronx, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Queens Museum in Flushing Meadow Park, Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island, U.S. Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, and the grounds of the South Beach Psychiatric Center on Staten Island. Since 1979, the annual OIA Sculpture Garden at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center on Ward’s Island has afforded hundreds of artists the opportunity to construct and install large-scale outdoor work in an urban environment, and many artists have received individual commissions, one-person shows, and have sold art work as a direct result of their participation.
Other OIA exhibition programming has resulted in ten to twelve artist-curated shows per year, and has assisted the artist-curator by identifying and negotiating exhibition locations, as well as producing announcement cards and posters, providing insurance, hosting the artists’ reception, advising and assisting with publicity, and undergoing extensive fundraising for artists’ and curators’ fees.
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged as 8 series:
Series 1: Administrative Records, circa 1976-2002 (3.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-4)
Series 2: Correspondence, circa 1976-2002 (0.8 linear feet; Boxes 4-5)
Series 3: Exhibition and Installation Files, circa 1970s-circa 2003 (13 linear feet; Boxes 5-18)
Series 4: Artists' Files, circa 1980s-circa 1990s (0.2 linear feet; Box 18)
Series 5: Financial and Legal Records, circa 1970s-circa 2002 (6.9 linear feet; Boxes 18-25, 29)
Series 6: Printed Material, circa 1970s-circa 2002 (3.1 linear feet; Boxes 25-29, OV30)
Series 7: Scrapbooks, circa 1977-2000 (0.7 linear feet; Box 28)
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1980s-circa 1990s (0.2 linear feet; Box 28-29)
Provenance
The Organization of Independent Artists records were donated in 2003 by the organization via Geraldine Cosentino, Director.
Processing Information note
Multiple accessions were merged and archivally processed and a finding aid prepared by Anna Rimel in 2015 with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s Collections Care and Preservation Fund. The Archives of American Art has implemented accelerated processing when possible to increase information about and access to more of our collections. For this collection, accelerated processing included arrangement to the series, subseries and folder levels, adhering to the creator’s original arrangement as much as possible. Generally, folder contents were simply verified with the original folder titles, but items within folders were not arranged further. All materials were rehoused in archival folders and boxes for long-term stability, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.

How to Cite This Collection

Organization of Independent Artists records, circa 1970s-circa 2003. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

  • No downloads available